Group 18

Group 18 — initiatives for dialogue

Group 18 has had a busy first half of the year, hosting important guests and taking part in a variety of campaigns. In January, we were asked to assist victims of a fire that ravaged 800 homes and left 4000 people homeless in Khayelitsha on New Year’s Eve. The response to our request from the community was overwhelming. We were able to take ‘combi-loads’ of clothes, blankets, toys, shoes, household goods and food to those in need.

Thank you to rabbis and staff at the Sephardi, Gardens, Marais Rd and Camps Bay Shuls and Spar Sea Point for the food. We could not have done it without your assistance! We also donated, together with the SAJBD, 350 pairs of school shoes to children in these areas.

In February, Gloria Greenfield, documentary producer of the films The Case for Israel (based on Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s book) and Judeophobia visited Cape Town. Judeophobia is an enlightening and thought-provoking documentary about antisemitism in Europe and the Arab world. Group 18 and Willie Paterson of Bridges for Peace also hosted a screening of the film in Brackenfell. Elle and Sid Katzeff also very kindly hosted a screening of Judeophobia at their home. In March, working with SAUJS and the SAZF, we hosted Simon Deng and a group of Israeli Ethiopian students, who visited to counter the BDS campaign against Israel and particularly to address the falsehood of the Israel-apartheid analogy.

While in Johannesburg, Simon was interviewed on ‘Good Morning Live’ and by various print publications, and spoke at a number of events. In Cape Town, Simon and the Israeli students gave talks at UCT and assisted us at ‘Abraham’s Tent’ on Jammie Plaza, where students were encouraged to ask questions and clarify concerns.

Discrediting allegations

Simon talked to students about his past. He told of how he was abducted at the age of 9 in the early 1970s and given to a family as a slave in Northern Sudan. He was able to escape after three and a half years.

He also gave presentations at churches, in townships and Herzlia Middle School. The Ethiopian students and Simon were interviewed on Christian radio and by JOY magazine. Simon was also interviewed on other radio programmes at SABC.

Naomi and Dvorah, two of the Ethiopian students, attended Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh’s talk at Stellenbosch University. He spoke about ‘ethnic cleansing’, wherein he denied that Arab armies had attacked Israel in 1948 and made claims that Israel has been ethnically cleansing the ‘West Bank’ of Palestinian people, again spreading a false narrative of the conflict. Naomi asked a number of pointed questions about his accusations, which Professor Qumsiyeh was unable to substantiate. His allegations were thus greatly discredited.

Group 18 has continued to initiate charity drives for the underprivileged and has been able to make substantial contributions. One manufacturer donated 22 boxes of clothing! We thank the community for the wonderful kindness and generosity in making this possible.

If you would like to assist with our initiatives, please contact Adrienne at